Fri. March 29, 2019: Unwanted Stressors

Friday, March 29, 2019
Waning Moon
Cloudy and raw

Well, yesterday kind of sucked, too.

I got some writing done in the morning. I had a pretty decent meeting with a potential client. But, like I said, I think they want a cute little twenty-something at the start of her career, not someone with experience and mileage. Plus, the money they offered was substantially less than my research showed was normal for the work in that region.

I am not optimistic we can make it happen, although the work itself and the location are ideal.

In the afternoon, I picked up a lovely printer on craigslist that works beautifully and will get me through the handouts I’m putting together for my class.

I now have three printers stacked around my computer desk. I’m still hoping Brother will give me some ideas to get the laser back up and running.

The day looked up, especially since it was a lovely day to take a ride.

When I came home, I went into the yard. I took the handsaw and culled some oak saplings that invaded the roses on the sunniest side of the house. In the coming weeks, I’ll have to get my hands on a big pair of loppers and whack back the roses themselves pretty seriously. I got tired of getting caught in the rose bushes and not being able to extricate myself without getting bloody.

I read Deanna Rayboun’s A DANGEROUS COLLABORATION. It was wonderful. I absolutely loved it. I love the series anyway; every book keeps getting better.

Then, in the evening, someone broke my trust by doing something the individual “assumed” was okay without checking — which wasn’t. Which has, in fact, screwed me over royally in the moment. Had I been asked, I would have said please don’t do this today, please wait a day until I can get another piece of the puzzle in place. However, that didn’t happen, and something that could have been simple is now not simple.

When I tried to take steps to fix it, the person who caused the issue in the first place set out a series of steps for me to take in order for that individual to fix what they broke in the first place. No. Just no.

It also means the place associated with this individual, which I always considered a sanctuary, now is no longer safe. It takes it from the side of the equation where it balances life stressors into the side of the equation where it IS a life stressor.

I have no room in April for additional life stressors.

So I had a bad night of feeling hurt and angry and betrayed and just like, “WTF? Why didn’t you ASK me before just DOING this?”

Tired and cranky today. I have a lot to get done, and I don’t feel like doing any of it. Too bad for me.

Have a great weekend.

 

Published in: on March 29, 2019 at 8:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Thurs. March 28, 2019: Trying to Shake off Mercury Retrograde Fatigue

Thursday, March 28, 2019
Waning Moon
Mercury Direct
Sunny and cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was one of those difficult, frustrating days. By the end of it, I felt beaten down, humiliated, and wounded. I’m tired of online interactions forcing information I do not wish to disclose in order to do a basic transaction. I am dissolving several customer relationships with businesses and organizations because they demand information that has nothing to do with my buying their products. I WON’T give it to them, and they refuse to let the transaction continue until I do so. Therefore, I won’t do business with them.

But at least the six-day migraine eased up by the end of the day.

Worked with a client. Worked on the books for review. I hope to have both reviews done and out the door by tomorrow.

I’m back to work on GRAVE REACH, which needs to get to the editor in the not-too-distant future. I finally figured out what Sam, my male protagonist, does for a living. He’s a forensic psychologist. So now I have to familiarize myself with that profession.

I’m also working on the final proofs for the almanac — they are due early next week. The changes are pretty simple, and the design is lovely. I’m pleased that I was able to participate again. I had a good time. The almanac will drop in August for 2020. I hope the keep me on for 2021.

I’m playing with some ideas for a few things. I need to start carrying around a notebook for random ideas instead of trying to organize everything from the get-go into its own little box. Because some ideas wind up working well together. So I chose one of the notebooks I bought during school season last fall, and its special pen (every notebook needs a special pen, that works best with it), and it’s becoming my “Whatever Ramblings” book. I will carry it around most of the time to jot whatever, and then figure out what fits where.

I need to get back to the Frieda/Lazarus radio play this weekend, and also to the monologues. Plus everything else I’m juggling.

I hope, with Mercury going direct, this sense of gloom and discouragement will lift.

Had a good conversation with a potential client, but I have a feeling they’re looking for someone younger. But the organization would be excellent with which to work.

I’m supposed to pick up a printer in Harwich, which I hope will get me through what I need to print for my workshop at the end of April. I’m hoping, in May, I can buy a new laser printer, since I can’t seem to get my old Brother laser up and going again, even though it has a new drum and new toner. But it won’t grasp the paper properly.

I’m so tired of products built to fail to force you to keep buying newer, lower-quality products.

I’m tired of a lot of things today.

 

Wed. March 27, 2019: Gearing Up for the Right Kind of Busy

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde

No post today on Ink-Dipped Advice.

I had the worst headache on Monday. Meditation helped, but it kept threatening on Tuesday.

I heard from the production in Florida that the night went well and the audience loved the play. They said there was “one big acting gaffe” that they’d fix in post-production before they uploaded the audio file. I’m not sure what that means, but I have to trust them to do their thing.

Production-wise, my attention is now focused on the piece that runs in Boston the first two weekends in April.

Worked on books for review Monday night and Tuesday. Did a little writing Tuesday morning and some editing.

A potential client wanted to have a phone conversation yesterday or today, but the only available times where when I was onsite, and I felt that was inappropriate, so I requested to set it, at their convenience, Thursday or Friday. She was happy to do so. I’m looking forward to it, tomorrow morning, but it means tomorrow’s post will go up late!

Got the proofs from my editor from the almanac articles. She’s asked for a couple of tweaks. No problem. I’ll work on them in the next few days, and turn them around.

Client work onsite yesterday, and then other writing and review work, to try to keep on top of deadlines.

Tired. Client work today. Then, if the weather still holds, maybe some yard work. It might get as high as 70 degrees this weekend, which means definite yard work.

But for now, it’s back to the page. And waiting to hear what’s going on between the WGA-ATA conflict.

 

Published in: on March 27, 2019 at 6:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tues. March 26, 2019: WGA & Writing Intensity & Creative Vampires

Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Only a few more days until Mercury goes direct. The last week of it is always difficult for me. I’m just trying to keep my head down and keep going.

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to read my essay on how the wonderful book SCRATCH, essays and interviews where writers talk about money, had a strong impace.

If you ever dream of writing for film or television, I hope you’ve kept up with how the WGA is fighting to make sure agents avoid conflicts of interest with their “packaging”. I’ve always hated it. Michael Ovitz talks about how he came up with the idea in his memoir. Agents are supposed to represent their clients, not act like additional producers. If they want to produce and create art, then they should switch jobs. But representing both sides of a negotiation — no. We’ll never know how many mediocre projects could have been stellar if the best people for the job had been hired instead of the project “packaged.” There’s a balanced post with both sides of the argument here. I’m also sharing a post by David Simon, who created Homicide: Life on the Streets and The Wire, who has a great piece about his personal experience with  the practice here.

Friday was about running errands, getting some writing done, working on books for review, and reading contest entries.

We had some snow on Friday night into Saturday, just enough to look like someone dumped powdered sugar over everything. I wrote in the morning, then we took the recycling in to the dump and ran more errands, then wrote more.

Sunday, more writing. Which was upset by the jackasses using leaf blowers. Leaf blowers should be banned on Sundays. Period. Unless it’s clean up after a hurricane or something.

I took a social media break for most of the weekend. I checked in now and then, mostly due to the Mueller Report. But there were too many early-career writers having the same questions, refusing to do any homework, the same arguments over and over and over again.

Everyone needs to start somewhere, to find community, to find encouragement, to learn. But all this repetition shows that people AREN’T learning from each other or researching answers. They can’t be bothered. They’re too in love with the sound of their own tweets, obsessing on how many thousands of followers they can accumulate, or why they lose followers.

But they expect and demand writers with more experience to take away time from their own work to answer questions easily answered by a Google search or by picking up any of the writing magazines. And then, instead of thanking the experienced writer for the time — they start arguing.

Shut the hell up. Say thank you. If you choose not to use the advice, fine. But don’t waste our time and throw our generosity back in our faces by arguing. Every minute spent answering a newbie question is a minute spent away from our own work. Time we can NEVER get back. Most of the time, we are happy to help. Hey, if we can spare someone pain from our own experience, of course we’ll do it. We don’t expect groveling. We don’t expect everything we suggest to work for you. But we expect basic courtesy. Act like the professional you claim you want to grow into. Learn the protocols of your industry, and behave with grace. Because professionals in any industry talk to each other, and remember the asshats. Don’t be a creative vampire.

Sunday into Monday was a challenge. Bad dreams, lonely coyote howls, strange night-calling birds. Awake by 3:30, couldn’t get back to sleep before the alarm went off.

Monday was mostly onsite with a client. A big marketing package I worked on was approved and will now go out. I’m getting us on some additional influencer channels. Meditation group was a much-needed relief.

Monday night was the performance/broadcast of “Horace House Hauntings” in Florida. I look forward to hearing how it went.

Today and tomorrow will be with clients, and then it’s down to another few days of intense writing.

April is going to be a busy month, and I have to work to make sure it’s a good busy.

 

Published in: on March 26, 2019 at 5:32 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 26, 2019: WGA & Writing Intensity & Creative Vampires  
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Mon. March 25, 2019: Wrapping Up the Month of Kindness #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, March 25, 2019
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde

How did you month go, trying to do small anonymous acts of kindness throughout the month and not broadcast it?

March was a challenging month on a lot of fronts. Mercury in retrograde didn’t help. There was lots of good stuff, but it didn’t mean the good stuff was easy.

I wasn’t always successful; I was often impatient. But I did make an effort.

One of the best things about the challenge was that it made me more mindful in the moment. I considered words and actions before speaking or doing. It was living in the moment and making as positive choice for the future as I could.

That didn’t mean being a doormat. I’ve called out someone on a racist comment flung like a punch at another person in our conversation. I’ve stood up for myself when an old white man demanded an apology for a piece of my writing because “I don’t like angry women.”

To which I responded, “Then don’t make me angry.”

He backed down.

It’s always a mixed bag. People are people, and since sometime in 2016, and it’s been open season for those who want to run around and be their worst selves and treat people as badly as possible. It makes them feel powerful and good.

Being kind doesn’t mean allowing that sort of behavior. Being kind means cutting it off. Fighting cruelty is part of behaving with kindness.

I hope to take what I’ve learned this month and keep working on it, building on it. There will be plenty of times when I fail. But I’m going to keep making the effort.

How did your month go?

Published in: on March 25, 2019 at 6:24 am  Comments Off on Mon. March 25, 2019: Wrapping Up the Month of Kindness #UpbeatAuthors  
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Fri. March 22, 2019: April Needs Stamina

Friday, March 22, 2019
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and chilly

I could not get it together yesterday. Everything was ten times harder than it needed to be, and I made stupid mistakes.

Didn’t get much done.

But yoga was great.

Also had to extricate myself from what should have been a simple business transaction, but turned into either an emotional vampire situation or a set-up for a scam. Either way, I wanted no part of it and put my foot down.

Working on contest entries and the books for review. Need to get the books done and reviews written this weekend.

Ran grocery errands this morning. Will have to go to Falmouth at some point tomorrow for some other errands.

Have been invited to another reading venue; will work on some material for that. I might just go and listen the first time. I have to see how it flows.

Also have to get back to the ocean liner radio play this weekend.

If the weather improves, I’m going to try to get some yard work done, and also plant more tomato seeds.

April is going to be a nutty month, but a creative one. If I can stay focused, make sure I don’t overdo, and remember to have fun. Part of what I do this weekend is start getting myself in the right mindset to deal with the month.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on March 22, 2019 at 9:11 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 22, 2019: April Needs Stamina  

Thurs. March 21, 2019: Reading and Aftermath

Thursday, March 21, 2019
Last Day of Full Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

I feel like I got hit by a truck! Not necessarily in a bad way.

Tuesday night into Wednesday, I heard the coyote calling. Only this time, no one answered. I’m worried that other members of his pack were shot since their last party in the backyard, and the thought of it breaks my heart.

Wednesday was fine with my client. Busy day.

I had a final rehearsal in the afternoon, and dealt with a bad bout of nerves. But that’s the gig.

Heard from a friend of mine, right before showtime, that one of her childhood friends had been murdered by the woman’s crazy ex-husband. And my friend had to go and do a reading, too. How awful.

When will the violence against women stop?

Violence against women is definitely another monologue,

Went to the venue. Ran into a friend of mine in the bathroom — we hadn’t seen each other in ages and had been thinking of each other. She was on her way to the reading. So it was great to catch up. And there’s another monologue there.

I also ran into someone I knew back when I worked in the library. Her sister was performing that night. It was good to see her again.

It was an interesting roster of performers. I was in the first half of the evening, which I prefer, because once I’m done I can relax and really enjoy all the other performers. The reading went well. I landed the jokes. The twist in the first, more light-hearted one worked. The second one made people more uncomfortable in the right way, although I’m going to cut one phrase to let the line land better in the next draft.

With words written for performance, it’s so important to get them on their feet. It’s so different than seeing the words on the page. That’s why I rehearse so much. Mark the breaths, work on where in my vocal range I want to pitch it. It makes a huge difference.

I still would rather have actors speak my words than me do it!

We had some good conversations and there was feedback afterwards, mostly positive. A jibe or two, but I didn’t let it rattle me. Which rattled the jiber.

Came home, wiped out. Checked in with a musician friend who’s given me a lot of support, and with the Women Write Change pals.

Today, I’m having a hard time getting it together.. I have too much to do, and not enough time. More keep getting piled on. All I can do is one step at a time.

I’ve got some new monologues percolating, I have to get some information together that I promised someone, I hope to make it to yoga, and then I have a ton of stuff to get done later today and tomorrow.

Onward.

 

Published in: on March 21, 2019 at 9:39 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 21, 2019: Reading and Aftermath  
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Wednesday, March 20, 2019: Full Moon on the Equinox During Mercury Retrograde. Yeah.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Full Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Spring Equinox

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for a post about balance. Because, you know, Equinox, and why not make connections?

Client work was fine on Monday. We got a lot done. I learned I didn’t land a gig that I wanted, although I knew it was a stretch. But they were gracious and I’m going to keep in touch. I also got out a couple more LOIs. There was a third place to which I wanted to pitch, but their online process was insulting to anyone who has ever held a professional position, to I passed.

Meditation group was great. We have so much fun together, and make actual progress together.

When I got home, there was an email from someone “checking” something with me — only because that individual knew I’d find out about it, and if they hadn’t believed they’d get caught out and I would be angry, the individual would have tried to get away with it. Not amused. At all.

I’m going over the material today, either signing off or not, and will be gracious until the end of this project, and then I’m done with them, at least until there’s a major staff turnover.

The Women Write Change group helped me brainstorm the ending for “Smile” which wasn’t working. They had great ideas. I tried each one of them in a run-through. I thought I’d found what I wanted, a variation on a suggestion; yesterday morning, I made one little tweak and now it’s right.

“Quicksand” wound up being much weaker when I spoke it than it looked on the page. It needed major, major reworking.

But that’s why it’s so important to rehearse a reading, and not just stand up there and mumble.

When I was finished with rehearsal, I found an email from the director of the piece opening next Monday. She directed my last piece with this company, and she’s great. She had a question about an Elvis song and rights. I was really confused, because my piece is set in the 1920s, so Elvis isn’t appropriate. I gently pointed this out, and said I had no problem cutting the song, since I didn’t think it fit anyway. She then realized she’d contacted the wrong writer! (She’s juggling multiple projects). We had a good laugh over it.

Tuesday I tweaked the monologues in the morning, did some more work on GAMBIT, worked with a client, got out some more LOIs, and rehearsed. The stopwatch is going in these rehearsals, since I have only 5 minutes for both monologues, and I can’t rush through them or the beats and laughs won’t land. I had to finalize where to take a breath, where to let a beat land, etc.

Equinox ceremony as the sun came up. Great way to start the new cycle.

Today I’m with a client, and then I have some prep time before I go and read. I’m nervous, because I’m always nervous. I write words actors speak, not for me to speak. But, especially for the monologues, for anything that’s a script, I have to embody actorish techniques in order for the pieces to work.

And reading from WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST in this part of the Cape, which is pathetically conservative, will be a challenge. On a full moon during Mercury Retrograde on the Equinox?

Challenge is an understatement.

Back to the page.

Published in: on March 20, 2019 at 5:59 am  Comments Off on Wednesday, March 20, 2019: Full Moon on the Equinox During Mercury Retrograde. Yeah.  
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Tues. March 19, 2019: Aftermath of an Intense Writing Weekend

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to see what I read for this month’s Reader Expansion Challenge.

Busy, intense weekend.

Worked on contest entries and books for review on Friday.

Saturday, I wrote 20 pages on GAMBIT. I planned to keep going, or to switch to one of the other novels, but then I got an email.

The radio theatre company in Florida, where I pitched “Horace House Hauntings” a couple of weeks ago wants to perform/produce it. On March 25th.

Now that’s quick!

So, on March 25, “Horace House Hauntings” will be performed in Florida. The first two weekends in April, “Confidence Confidant” will be performed in Boston. On May 10, “Light Behind the Eyes” will be performed in Minnesota.

That’s a pretty good run of productions.

The company in Florida wants more with Frieda and Lazarus, my protagonists from “Horace House Hauntings.”

So, on Saturday afternoon, I wrote the half of the first draft of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” which puts them on an ocean liner headed for England.

Page total for Saturday: 35.

I was wiped out.

Watched some of Season 3 of THE WEST WING. Worked on the books for review.

Fell into bed, exhausted.

Sunday, I sort of slept in. I was back at my desk by 8 AM (late for me). I wrote 21 pages on GAMBIT. I wrote a couple of blog posts. I wrote a 7-page letter to an old friend. I finessed two monologues: “Smile” and “Quicksand” from WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST and rehearsed them for Wednesday night.

I’m still not happy with the last beat on “Smile.” It’s not there, and I have to have something better by tomorrow night. I tossed it to Women Write Change, and hope they can help.

“Quicksand” takes a nice turn and ends on a gut punch.

“Emotional Labor” isn’t quite ready to test. I’ll do it next month. And I’ll have to decide which other piece to write and prepare.

Exhausted Sunday night, and behind where I want to be in the books for review (although I’m well within deadline).

Monday, I was with a client, and then to meditation group. Today I’ll be with a client and, if the weather holds, I’ll have to get started on yard work later in the afternoon.

I can’t believe tomorrow is the Spring Equinox. And the full moon. And Mercury Retrograde. And a reading.

Overwhelmed much?

I’d say yes!

Published in: on March 19, 2019 at 5:22 am  Comments Off on Tues. March 19, 2019: Aftermath of an Intense Writing Weekend  
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Mon. March 18, 2018: Kindness is not Weakness #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, March 18, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde

 

In light of the New Zealand terrorist attack, I thought it was important to talk about how kindness is not weakness.

Often, when someone is kind, it is misinterpreted as weak. Part of the premise of my not-quite-cozy Nautical Namaste mystery series (under the Ava Dunne name) hinges on the fact that my protagonist, Sophie, is mistaken for weak when in reality she is kind. She walks her talk. She does her best to live the yogic path she teaches. Part of that path is meeting the world with kindness.

That does not mean she doesn’t fight back when someone tries to hurt her or hurt someone about whom she cares. Quite the contrary. She’s strong. She can be tough without being hard.

But she is also kind. She does her best to make everyone in class feel good about where they are at that moment. It’s one of the tenets practiced at Kripalu that I admire most, and I wanted to fold that in as part of the series.

You are fine where you are. From where you are, you work for positive change to change what you know needs to change.

Offering a helping hand instead of a striking blow is not weakness.

It is something we must start practicing as individuals. If the current poison of hatred can spread the way it has, it can and must be countered with an antidote of kindness in strength.

Take a look at the Strength card in your favorite tarot deck. (If you don’t have a favorite tarot deck yet, I recommend the Robin Wood Deck or the Everyday Witch Tarot or the Steampunk Tarot). Look at the image on the Strength card. There is strength, integrity, purpose. And kindness.

We can’t change the greater world until we change our own part of it. By practicing kindness in strength, we can create a ripple effect that counters the wave of hatred that’s been the long game since the Reagan years, which is now coming into full flower.

We can stop this. We can change this. But only if we don’t turn away, pretend it doesn’t exist, and pretend that our daily interactions either enable it or counter it.

Be strong. Be kind. Make the world a better place.

 

Published in: on March 18, 2019 at 5:18 am  Comments Off on Mon. March 18, 2018: Kindness is not Weakness #UpbeatAuthors  
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Fri. March 15, 2019: The Ides of March & Need for Focus

Friday, March 15, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and mild
The Ides of March

I’ll be re-visiting Shakepeare’s JULIUS CAESAR today. If you don’t understand why, look up the Ides of March.

We’re supposed to get a big rain storm later today; I’m trying to get everything done ahead of time.

Hop on over to the GDR site for the mid-March check-in.

Didn’t get as much writing done yesterday as I’d hoped. Same song, different day, right? I got some blog posts done, and I started putting together the ideas to help hungry kids for the resource sheet. I’m going to have to research some of the suggestions and put useful links in there, too. It’ll take awhile.

Some additional mansplainers jumped in to defend the mansplainer. Really? I can’t be bothered with any of them. Not worth the time or energy for engagement.

The next book for review arrived. So I have two. I want to turn them around fairly quickly (while still giving them my full attention).

Working on the monologues. I’ll start rehearsing them this weekend, and see which ones I want to read.

Working on the pitches. I didn’t think they’d take this long to craft, but I want to do them well. I’d like to start solid relationships with these trade journals, so it’s not just one-and-done.

April is shaping up to be a hugely busy month. I will have very little downtime. I have to be organized, keep my head screwed on straight, and stay focused. It’s all the right kind of busy, but it doesn’t stop it from being damn busy.

I’m determined to make it a happy month.

Saddened and angered by the terrorist attack in New Zealand. Especially since the terrorists were inspired by the Narcissistic Sociopath and his enablers. Truly disgusting how his poison spreads around the world.

A few more things to do out and about today. Got the grocery shopping out of the way first thing. It took me 5 minutes to make a right turn out of my little street. The snow birds are back. Urgh.

Then back to the page, both as a writer and a reader.

Have a great weekend.

Published in: on March 15, 2019 at 9:11 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 15, 2019: The Ides of March & Need for Focus  
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Thurs. March 14, 2019: Pi, Coyotes, College, and Hungry Schoolkids

Thursday, March 14, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy & chilly

Happy Pi day!

When I worked for a library, we used to serve pie on Pi day, along with a display of fun facts about it.

Yesterday was fine at the client’s. It was quiet – for most of the day, I was on site, but I was alone on site, so I could be as productive as I would in my home office. I’m working on a couple of big projects for them, so it was good to have that time.

Coyotes woke me up having a party in the yard around 5 AM. Better than 2AM. Quite the pack. I’m pretty sure one of the pups that was raised under my deck a few years ago is now Leader of the Pack. Especially since he takes such pleasure in standing on the deck to call them.

The local coyotes and I have a deal: I don’t act like a dumbass and they don’t eat me. It works for us.

Plus, they don’t use my yard as their toilet. They’re very clean and respectful that way. No coyote scat. They do that in the yards that use chemicals.

I’ve been mulling over how personally angry I feel about the college entrance  scandal. It’s not that I don’t know that the system is already rigged in favor of wealthy white students. It’s not that I don’t know that rich families have bought their kids slots in good schools since rich families and good schools exist.

It’s much more personal than that for me. Both because of my own journey, and because some of those accused are people I considered colleagues.

I was the not-rich kid in the rich town. I didn’t realize the extent of our financial struggles; we always had books and enough to eat and laughter. We didn’t buy stuff all the time, but we did stuff. Went to libraries and museums and historical sites. We often packed a picnic lunch on our trips. I was an adult before I realized it was because we couldn’t afford to go out to restaurants. I always thought the packed lunches were fun.

I did well in school. I wanted to graduate a year early. I was one-half credit short – in GYM, of all things. One HALF credit. Even though I was in the National Honor Society for academics, in advanced classes, and already going to college part time.

The high school principal refused to let me graduate early. I wasn’t allowed to take an extra gym class or to have one of the several college dance classes I took count. I had to stay an entire fall semester my senior year of high school for ONE HALF CREDIT.

While I took classes as SUNY Purchase, which was close by. I’d taken dance there since they opened; I also took literature classes.

Meanwhile, as a junior, I’d taken both the SATs and the ACTs. And I ran around visiting schools and interviewing. In the SATs, I did very well in the verbal and squeaked by in the math. In the ACTs, I got in the 98% percentile of the country, including the science section. When that was brought up in college interviews, I pointed out that to me, math made perfect sense in context with science, but when it sat there as a math problem, it had little relevance to me and I struggled with it.

I was also very active in a variety of clubs and organizations, taking college courses part-time, and writing for the local paper.

I got into EVERY school to which I applied. Including the Ivy Leagues. But I wanted to have more of a traditional college experience.

I graduated in January with no fanfare. I spent a few weeks in the UK. My first trip to Edinburgh, where I first fell in love with it. The first time Lindisfarne captivated me.

I started college in March, at Florida State University, in Tallahassee. Definitely not ivy league, but a great campus and a solid “this is college” experience.

I had tested my way out of freshman year, so I started as a sophomore. My transcripts, testing, and classes at SUNY Purchase mattered to the colleges to which I applied, even though my high school principal had forced me to stay an extra semester in high school for a gym class.

I planned to go for a journalism degree. I took a theatre lighting class as an elective. We were supposed to spend 20 hours in lab work in the theatre in the semester. I spent 20 hours my first week and never left the building for the following year.

I worked through the summer semester, always taking as full a course load as I could talk the registrars into letting me take.

I was a scholarship student and tried to find a workstudy job on campus. I wanted to work in the magnificent library, but they never hired me. They kept hiring social science majors. I wound up working theatre and music crew jobs in local clubs, which led to working rock ‘n roll gigs around the area, some with big names. My theatre teachers let me take some of the grad level classes.

I loved working in theatre, but learned pretty damn fast the rock ‘n roll life was not for me.

I also was savvy enough to know that, while I had fun at FSU and had some terrific teachers, it couldn’t give me the launching platform I wanted or needed to have the career I wanted in the business. There are plenty of hugely successful FSU Alumni, but I knew I couldn’t do what I wanted and needed there after my first year.

I transferred to the film program at NYU. I had done the spring quarter, summer quarter, and then the following full year in Tallahassee. I received my acceptance letter dated April 1 from NYU and called them to make sure it wasn’t a joke.

I started as a film student that June. And continued to work in theatre. And I had a work/study job at the Interactive Telecommunication and Alternate Media Center, where we did some of the first video conferencing that existed. And from there, built my career in local, regional, off-off, off, and up to Broadway.

What’s the point of this?

I took my own damn tests. I studied all night if I had to. I had scholarships and jobs and loans and EARNED IT ALL MY DAMN SELF. When I turned down the Big Name Schools that had accepted me, they were shocked. Because it was hard to get in. But I got in as MYSELF – not because I had connections (I didn’t). Not because I had money (I didn’t). I got in because I was smart and talented with good grades and great essays and lots of interests and experiences and completely out of the box and blew the interviewers the hell out of the water in the interview (and was told that in EVERY interview).

So when I see this entrance scandal, and see some entertainment personnel I liked, respected, and considered my COLLEAGUES involved – it’s an insult. If anyone had tried to buy me into a school, I would have been so damn mortified, I don’t know what I would have done. It was important to me to EARN IT MYSELF. With good grades, hard work, scholarships, workstudy, student loans, and finding my own gigs along the way.

Not only is it unfair to better qualified students without the financial means to allow richer parents to purchase slots, it’s a slap in the face to the students whose slots are purchased. Probably a lot of them don’t care; they know they wouldn’t get in anyway, and it’s just another entitlement with which they sail through life. But it completely negates and discards any work any of them have done or might do.

Along with denying those who would make better use of the opportunity the chance in the first place.

These parents are insulting their own kids while insulting the kids who have earned the right to those slots and are denied them because their parents can’t afford the right bribe. The parents purchasing these slots aren’t helping ANYBODY. In fact, they are hurting everyone involved, while some scumbag “recruiters” or “consultants” get rich.

There’s a lot in our educational system that needs to be changed and fixed, from pre-school all the way up through PhD programs. But I found this, with allegations against people in my own field who KNOW BETTER and whom I expect to BEHAVE BETTER – infuriated me on multiple levels.

Just now, as I’m writing this, they’re discussing it in the library. One man talked about how his son was accepted into Dartmouth and was so excited – he had great grades, etc. Then some man showed up at the house to tell him that his son had to give up his spot in order to make space for the son of an alumnus. The kid was heartbroken, and the man currently speaking threw the bum out of the house. The kid went elsewhere and went on to a good, successful life, but it still hurts.

The fact that it has been going on for centuries doesn’t make any of it right. It’s time to make positive changes.

Yesterday, a teacher mentioned something about kids and hunger and lunch problems on Twitter. I asked for ideas how I, a random taxpayer with no kids in my local system, could make a contribution and make sure that it went to feed the kids who needed it, and not appropriated by the school for something else.

My feed exploded with so many good ideas that I’m gathering them up and going to put together a resource sheet. I’m not sure on which of my websites I’ll put it, but I’ll put it up somewhere.

So far, there was only one mansplainer about how my taxes are paying for schools and how I need to vote and military spending is the problem. In other words, trying to hijack the thread for his own agenda. I have been politically active since I was 15. Once I was eligible to vote, I’ve voted in EVERY election at every level, especially local. I’m in almost daily contact with my reps, from local to federal, so he can stop the hell trying to lecture me about voting responsibility.  30 seconds on my timeline reflects that I take the responsibility seriously. There’s always one, isn’t there? I’m sure he will come back with something else defensive and mansplaining, and then I’ll block. I’m not arguing, and anyone who’s read my timeline knows I take my voting rights seriously. Hijacking a thread about trying to help hungry kids in school to bitch about military spending is inappropriate.

Some other trolls will probably show up, too, and they, too, will be blocked. Meanwhile, I’ll gather the positive info and put together a resource list. That way, maybe some other people who are feeling helpless can find something they can do.

Also, for me, it’s important to donate anonymously. I deeply believe that genuine philanthropy is anonymous.

Enough for one day – I need to get back to the page.

Published in: on March 14, 2019 at 9:56 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 14, 2019: Pi, Coyotes, College, and Hungry Schoolkids  
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Wed. March 13, 2019: Post-Birthday Recalibration

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where we continue to work on our personal strategic plans.

My birthday on Monday was low-key and lovely. Birthdays can be fraught, even more than New Year’s, weighed down by all the things not achieved. I made a determined effort not to fall into that trap this year.

The greetings through various social media channels and email and mail and in person were much appreciated. I had a lovely lunch, and then went to my usual Monday meditation group, where we had a celebration, and then a quiet night with plenty of chocolate cake!

Site work with the client was a little bit more stressful than usual, and it will continue to get more so, due to the situation that started in December. The client is not listening to what I’m saying, and it all needs to be dealt with in the next few months. I want it to be weeks, but I have a feeling it will be months. Tuesday the stress continued, as it will today, which only reinforces what I already know.

The birthday blues threatened on Tuesday — since I’d held them at bay on Monday, they seemed determined to come at me stronger on Tuesday. Fortunately, what I’ve worked on in meditation and yoga this past year, and focusing on the writing, helped. Step by step, that’s all I can do. Step by step.

Was assigned two new books to review; one is downloaded and started. The other is in print and on its way. I like working with this particular organization. The quality of the books is overall pretty good, I like working with my editor. She appreciates honest reviews and doesn’t send things back to “please the client” the way the other publication last year did. A review has no integrity unless it’s honest.

I’m reading the book for the Reader Expansion Challenge. It’s a lot of fun. I will discuss it in detail next week on A Biblio Paradise.

I’ve been steadily working on contest entries.

There weren’t and won’t be any memorial services for the neighbors who died. It is, of course, up to the family. They aren’t local, and I can understand it’s difficult for them. But it leaves me feeling unsettled and without a way to contain the sadness. So I decided that, when I have the deck set up with the plants, and the yard work well under way, I will hold my own ceremony of remembrance. They were wonderful gardeners. This will allow me to process the loss while still respecting the family’s choice. Maybe I’ll invite the neighbors over to join me.

Working on the monologues. Working on the trade journal pitches. Saw that one publication to which I planned to pitch in a couple of months has filed for bankruptcy protection. I’m not particularly surprised, since they kept recycling old material all the time. They refused to have articles that grew with their readers; they kept everything at the early-career stage.

Had an awful headache on Tuesday. Made it more difficult to get anything done.

Just keeping my head down and doing the work.

 

Published in: on March 13, 2019 at 4:57 am  Comments Off on Wed. March 13, 2019: Post-Birthday Recalibration  
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